Explosively Entertaining - Headblaster Review
With all the gracefulness of a bull under the influence of psychedelics, Headblaster blasted onto my monitor recently, and left quite the crater. The self-described "fastpaced retro-arcade experimental drug survival" game opens by shouting out the developer's name, Loud Noises, and proceeds with unrelenting insanity every second of play. It plays quite unlike anything I've had the pleasure of checking out, a mouse-guided, drug-fueled offspring of Pac-Man and Retro City Rampage.
"Simple enough," you think, clicking the play button for the first time, "Only use the mouse? Ha!" And you might continue to think that for the next few seconds. Once the clock gets rolling, however, Headblaster reveals itself as an absolutely chaotic rush. The game excels in its concision, revolving around a single, pure, and unfettered concept: stave off the explosion of your own head. Every single asset the game has at its disposal is employed to enhance and highlight this one idea. It assaults players with a pounding soundtrack and bright visuals which accelerate and become more aggressive as your character boils towards his inevitable doom. I found the glitch art in interfaces and screen filters to be particularly effective in building up a stressful atmosphere and conveying the sense of insanity and surreal importance of the task at hand.
While Headblaster isn't going to win any awards for staggeringly fresh art direction, the graphics are sufficiently "retro" enough to keep the focus on the absolutely frantic gameplay. It isn't going to last you very long. There aren't any story segments, multiplayer modes, DLC or any other such nonsense. Headblaster wants to see how long you can go before blasting your head, and only that. As such, I had a wonderful time with it.
There is something important within the "content" debate raging about modern game development, but it can only be applied so far. I found Headblaster to be more enjoyable than most of the major releases I've played recently simply because it fully understood the experience it was attempting to create. Filler segments and EXP grinding can add hours to any game, but have the potential turn everything into a slog. With Headblaster, Loud Noises has used the short form of freeware to its fullest, executing a completely streamlined but massively exciting game. Whether you play for five minutes or push for world records, Headblaster is definitely at least worth a download.